The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on Thursday claimed that it has destroyed entrances of 130 Hamas tunnels in Gaza since the militant group waged its war against the Jewish nation on October 7. In a post on X, the military said: “IDF combat engineers are currently working to expose and destroy Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, including tunnels. Water and oxygen storage discovered inside the tunnels indicates Hamas’ preparations for prolonged stays underground. “130 tunnel entrances have been destroyed since the beginning of the war.”
In an earlier statement late Wednesday, the IDF said that it destroyed a Hamas tunnel near a UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) sponsored school in the Beit Hanoun area of northern Gaza. It also shared a video allegedly showing the destruction “near the school” through a drone camera. “With the expansion of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the soldiers are thwarting Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure,” the IDF added. The myriad of tunnels under Gaza are best known as passageways used to smuggle goods from Egypt and launch attacks into Israel. However, according to the IDF, a second underground network also exists which the Israeli military colloquially refers to as the “Gaza metro”. It is a vast labyrinth of tunnels, by some accounts several kilometres underground, used to transport people and goods; store rockets and ammunition caches; and house Hamas command and control centers, all away from the prying eyes of the IDF’s aircraft and surveillance drones, CNN reported.
In 2021, Hamas had claimed to have built 500 km worth of tunnels under Gaza, though it is unclear if that figure was accurate or posturing. If true, Hamas’ underground tunnels would be a little less than half the length of the New York City subway system.